Rod Dreher doesn’t want to know

I am not even going to get into Rod’s fellating of racist pig Sailer, nor his par for the course straw man attacks on “liberals.” But this struck me as a stupidity worth bothering with:

“Also, I wrote a while back about the importance of maintaining the concept of forbidden knowledge, that is, things that can be known but should not be known because of what we are likely to do with that knowledge. Unless you believe that plans for building atomic bombs and how to poison a city’s water supply with ricin should be distributed freely on the Internet, then you too believe in the concept of forbidden knowledge. If you believe the government has no right to vacuum up your private information, then you believe that some things shouldn’t be known because of what use we are likely to make of the power that knowledge gives us. My point is simply that all of us believe that some facts are too dangerous to be known; they are like the Ring Of Power, in that the temptation to abuse them is too great for our natures to bear.”

Um, no Rod. Privacy is NOT the same thing as “Forbidden Knowledge.” I don’t want folks looking at my private stuff NOT because of “what use they are likely to make of the power that knowledge gives them,” but merely because it is none of their damn business, even if they don’t “use” the “power that” blah, blah, blah. Or, indeed, even if they don’t “use” the information at all. What I write to my brother in an email, poems that I may have written showing my love for Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus, or Cyrus the Great or Cyrus McCormack, or whatever, no one can actually hurt me all that much by making them public. But they are still private.

Forbidden knowledge is another thing entirely. The concept that there is knowledge that is of general use to mankind but might tempt us to do evil (with atomic bombs, water poisoning, and, of course, the Ring of Power being the shopworn cliché examples–Rod loves him some middle brow referentialism), is a different one than the concept of privacy. Making public the info about atomic bombs or water poisoning, or not, is merely a variant of that other issue. “We” (meaning the human race) already have the knowledge, but that is a little different than every jerk having it. But it too has nothing to do with privacy.

Knowledge about my private shit is of no importance whatsoever, to the human race generally. The human race will neither progress by knowing it, nor will it endanger itself. Nor is it likely to lead to any terrorist act. Whatever one feels about the notion of “forbidden knowledge” and the question of whether it would be better if the human race had never discovered atomic power, and whatever one feels about the subsidiary issue of what is the appropriate regime regarding publication of the info about how to make an atomic bomb or poison a water supply, much less how one feels about humans acquiring the ultimate, “Ring of Power” type knowledge, is all pretty much irrelevant to one’s feelings about privacy.

So, no Rod. Wanting my to keep my private stuff private does NOT mean that I buy into the concept of “Forbidden Knowledge,” neither the full fledged “humans in general can’t be trusted with this power” notion nor the lesser version of “not every clown on the internet should be able to know this.” I might believe in one or the other, or both, or neither, but wanting to keep my love letters and so forth private (or not) has no bearing on that.

And thus you see the problem of even dealing with a guy like Dreher. He is actually earnest in many ways. He is not nearly as dogmatic or closed minded as many on the right. But he is simply stupid. Before registering your disagreement with his typical post, you pretty much have to spend a whole blog comment’s worth, or more, of argument on clearing out the brush of all of his mistaken notions, faulty reasoning, incorrect factual statements, logical fallacies, etc. He is a guy with a BA in journalism. Now, not having an advanced degree does not mean you are stupid. But it is the case that, partly for lack of education but also because he just isn’t that bright, Rod is simply not knowledgeable or smart enough to take on most of the issues he writes about.


Rod Dreher Courageously Stands up For Old Bigots

Shorter Rod Dreher on the racist (as opposed to the homophobic) aspect of the Duck Dynasty Douchebag imbroglio:

Well, bigots can do good stuff too, even for the people they are bigoted against, and here is one, anecdotal example, so therefore, neh, neh, neh, neh, neh, on you, you know it all, New York City liberal double reverse bigot!

Seriously, Rod recycles his Paula Deen defense, which includes this:

“Every younger white Southerner who holds enlightened opinions on race knows that you have to allow for the cultural deformation of older white Southerners. Every one of us knows elderly whites who, despite their residual racism, have done more good for particular black neighbors than many of us who believe the right things, but who have done little or nothing to help actual black people in our midst.

“I think of the old white lady I interviewed two decades ago in my town. She was politically incorrect on race, and hopelessly innocent of her ignorance. But she was helping lead an ultimately successful charge to save a poor black church from a developer’s wrecking ball. It takes a Puritan to regard that woman as a simplistic villain…”

So, because the old bigot arguably did a good thing, despite her bigotry, therefore, what? Well, Rod continues:

“What galls about Deen’s treatment is the puritanical zeal that cultural enforcers bring to bear on the complex realities of race, region and history. By implication, it says that all right-thinking people must drive anyone with Deen’s personal history and antique views out of the public square.

“To demonstrate our racial righteousness to the media commissars, are we younger Southerners required to agree that our gray-haired kinfolks are irredeemably tainted? If so, forget it. We know better. We know these people, we love them, and in most cases we grant them grace, knowing that they too were twisted by the evil of racism, by a world into which they were born, and which — contra Mr. Faulkner — has passed and is passing away.

“Similarly with an old country man like Phil Robertson…”

Leaving aside the shilly shallying “complexity” bullshit (What was so complex? White folks in the South enslaved Black folks for a couple of hundred years, until they were forced to stop doing so, and then they exploited and oppressed them under Jim Crow for another hundred years or so instead, until, once again, they were forced to stop doing so), and the disgusting and vile “racism hurt the White folks too-ooo” whine, what really galls ME are the straw man arguments and deliberate conflation.

No one wants to “drive” anyone “out of the public square,” no one wants anyone branded a “villain” for life. I doubt any “cultural enforcer” or “commissar” was coming for the women Rod mentions with a red hot iron, ready to brand a big, ol’ “V” on her head, and then poised to keep her off that lovely old small Southern town courthouse square for the sadly brief remainder of her days. Nor is anyone coming to do anything similar to Paula Deen or Duck Dodger of the Nineteenth Century. Instead, the reality is if you want your TV network employer to keep you on, rather than fire you, as it has every right to do under the employee-at-will legal doctrine that conservatives love so much (and, in Daffy Duck’s case, also under a contract that gives it the explicit right to do so), then you have to make nice-nice even with folks you despise, if that’s what your TV network employer wants you to do.

And since when did having your own TV show on A & E become the same thing as mere presence on “the public square?” Are Paula Deen and Duck’s Ass banned from writing a book? Are they banned from being on any other TV network? On the radio (broadcast or satellite)? On the internet? Are they not allowed to make films or videos? To give public speeches? A privately owned cable TV network, one of literally hundreds of such networks, and one of virtually infinite outlets to the public, does not comprise, all by itself, “the public square.”

Of course, the rationale being recycled (after all, Rod is not just any con, but a “crunchy” con, indeed, he wrote a whole book about it, just ask him, he’ll be more than happy to tell you how you can order it, and his book about his dead sister too!), it doesn’t quite fit like new on Donald Duck. As even Rod’s handpicked and mostly reactionary commenters point out, Dick Duck is a Baby Boomer who is not quite seventy, and has a BA and an MA, and has taught school, and negotiated a contract with a TV network. He and his family formerly vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard, for Christ’s sake! He is not all that “similar” to the small town, African American church saving old bigoted lady, nor even Paula Deen. Presumably, he must know at least something about the Civil Rights Movement, Jim Crow and all that.

No matter. New wine in old wine sacks is more than good enough for Rod. Another column in the can, and its off to enjoy some fancy food with the Mrs., and then kiss the icons and hit the hay….

Happy Birthday Keith!

Keef turns seventy today (which is December 18th….pay no attention to that balloon on your left which claims it is the 19th!)

I must confess, he is a hero of mine. A founding member of the Rolling Stones. He had sex with Ronnie Bennett, aka Ronnie Spector before she was Ronnie Spector! He survived a long term heroin addiction, and said he never had a drug problem, only a police problem! Just so much cooler than Mick in every way. Mick was a pretty, pretty boy. And he could sing. And, of course, both he and Keith could write great songs. But Mick Jagger copped all of his stage moves directly from James Brown. Keith Richards, on the other hand, while paying tribute to his blues and rock and roll elders, was a true original. Even his heritage is cool (his family were Labor Party pioneers back in the day). And he cares so much more about the music than Mick, who is really all about the fame and the money. This can be seen in their respective solo careers…the less said about Mick’s the better, whereas Keith’s was critically and popularly acclaimed.

I saw Keith and his X-Pensive Winos perform at the Beacon Theater on the upper west side back in the nineties, and they were fantastic! What a great band he put together! Steve Jordan, Waddy Wachtell, Bobby Keys, Ivan Neville, etc…..not afraid at all to have younger, perhaps more virtuosic, musicians on stage with him. The girl I was dating, who was a classical musician, loved the music! As did the corny, folky woman I carpooled to work with, and the twenty something girl who owned the car! I also saw Keith’s and Ronnie Wood’s band, The New Barbarians, at Madison Square Garden back in 1979, but that is like a dream to me now. My cousin and I, who had cheap tickets, jumped over the barrier when the guards weren’t looking and made our way down to the front. All I can recall is us STANDING on the armrests of the seats in like, the third row, waiving our arms, clapping our hands, jumping up and down, and screaming our heads off! Saw the Stones in big, stadium venues a couple of times in 1978 and the early ’80’s, but, by then, their live shows had become a kinda rip off. Tearing through all the songs as quickly as possible, no stage presence, no connection with the audience, no slowing down and doing a ballad and then building to a crescendo. Just get it all out there, mostly new songs from the new album, and get it done, in 90 minutes or less, with a perfunctory encore.

I recommend the bluesy, Mick Taylor on lead guitar, Let it Bleed, Beggars Banquet, and Sticky Fingers albums from the late 60’s and early 70’s, as far as Rolling Stones records go. Better than their poppy stuff from the early and mid sixties, although some of the really early stuff, where Brian Jones plays harmonica and Mick actually plays some guitar and tambourine, is really pretty cool, like cleaned up and speeded up R and B.

The next album after Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street (1972) is a diamond in the rough. The songs themselves are great, and it might have been their best ever, if not for the incredibly muddled and muddy mixing. But there is good stuff right on through Some Girls in 1978. After that, in my view, most Rolling Stones albums ain’t much. The first Keith/Winos record, Talk Is Cheap, is excellent, and the second one, Main Offender, is pretty good too.

As for “Keith songs,” ie Rolling Stones songs where Keith sings, try, in no particular order, Before They Make Me Run, She’s My Little Rock and Roll, Happy, You Got the Silver, Hang Fire, and his backup vocals on Memory Motel.

Also, his auto bio, “Life,” is a real hoot too.

Housework and gender fairness

Scott Lemieux, over at Lawyers, Guns and Money, summarizes the “new” housework argument thusly:

“There are some domestic tasks — basic sanitation like cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, a minimum level of organization, childrearing duties where applicable — that are necessary, and there should be a presumption of gender equity in how they’re distributed.”

“It doesn’t follow from this, however, that the equilibrium every equitable household should reach is 50s-bourgeois standards of tidiness that presumed a full-time homemaker plus paid help. If it’s very important to you to dust every singe day or have all your clothes ironed or to never have an extraneous object on a table or floor that’s fine, but that’s like a hobby, not a fundamental household task. Just assuming that all kinds of pointless busywork has to be done is not only a non-sequitur, under current gender norms it’s especially bad for women.”

Taking it point by point….of course there are certain housekeeping and childcare duties that are not negotiable. They have to be done. No argument here. Except for maybe the “lumping.” Child care is certainly discrete from housework. (“Organization?” Meh, I’m not sure what he means. I think he means paying the bills on time, and so on. To me, that is also discrete from housework. And also no big deal at all. I think we can pretty much forget this one.)

So, where’s the problem? Well, the problem is that left out is the eight hundred pound gorilla, ie wage work. In reality, leaving aside the bill paying, a household has two main kinds of work, work for money and housework. Throw in kids, and there are three kinds, work for money, housework, and child care work. And, guess what, in most household MEN still do the majority of the wage work. Men bring in more money, and no, not because of discrimination, but because men choose (and that choice is usually just as culturally determined as the ones that women make that we will deal with later) the tougher jobs, with the tougher commutes, the longer hours, the overtime, the more physical risks, the more mental stress, the more rigorous and selective training and qualification regimes and so on. Even if the man and the woman work the same number of hours, there is work and then there is work. Forty hours a week at the factory, to earn the main salary and the health care benefits, is NOT the same thing as forty hours in the bookstore, to earn some supplemental money.

So what, you might ask. So everything. ALL of the work should be considered…wage work, housework and childcare work (if applicable). NOT merely the areas where, stereotypically and also typically, women do the most. And, indeed, studies show that men and women tend to work equal hours when all work is considered (but again, men do the hardest work, high wage outside work, which is much more difficult than either housework or child care work), although women tend to complain more. So, no, Scott, there should be no “presumption of gender equality” in how two, and not any old two but the two where women tend to do more now, but not all three, areas of work are “distributed.” ALL areas of work should be considered. As well as the difficulty of the work in question.

Again, the real issue is total work, and its distribution, not merely work in any one or two areas and their distribution. For years, folks who do these studies refused to count lawn work and working on the car as work at all. No, those were “hobbies.” The notion that raking leaves, cutting grass, cleaning out gutters, changing oil, and such like is a “hobby” came as news to most men, who saw those tasks as work, and a lot of them as pretty hard, physical work at that. Now, pretty much, that has been rectified, with this “yard work” either figuring as a separate category or as part of “housework.”

Beyond mere hours worked, as I mentioned, thought must be given to how hard the work is too. Women often say that men seem tired “too much.” Well, perhaps that is because wage work (which is still, even today, more “men’s work”) is harder than housework and child care, and takes its toll. Let’s hear from one SAHM:

“I dance and sing and play the guitar and listen to NPR. I write letters to my family, my congressional representatives, and to newspaper editors. My kids and I play tag and catch, we paint, we explore, we climb trees and plant gardens together. We bike instead of using the car. We read, we talk, we laugh. Life is good. I never dust.”

Does that sound so hard? Of course not. With the relaxed standards of cleanliness, with labor saving devices, and with nursery and pre school, being a SAHM is a good deal. Why, duh, do you think so many women choose it? Even women with professional and business careers, and not merely jobs. Why do women who can’t afford it long for it? Why do single working women wish that a man who made enough money, on his own, to support her and their kids, would come along, wine, dine and affiance her, marry her, impregnate her, and do just that!

Think of the benefits of avoiding wage work, either entirely or mostly. Work at home taking care of kids and a house is done in a non hierarchal, non competitive setting. One need not watch one’s every word and action, as one must do in employee at will, corporate and small business America. One is free to dress as one chooses, including comfortably and casually (think t shirt and sweatpants!, think sneakers–or barefoot or socks only–as opposed to uncomfortable “dress” shoes), one can work at one’s own pace, and there is no boss and there are no customers–so performance standards are self generated. One can take meal, snack, coffee, bathroom and other breaks as one chooses, when one chooses. One can listen to music or have the TV on while one works, and one gets to choose the music or show. One can take or make personal phone calls or go on the computer for non work purposes as one chooses. The work itself is mostly light. Throwing clothes in the washer, then the drier, then folding them (optional in many cases) is just not that hard, not physically, not mentally and not emotionally either. Neither is running a vacuum cleaner or a dish washer. No commute. Some of the work, like cooking and decorating, can actually be fun, arty and rewarding. And most parents, men and women, find being around their kids to be the most rewarding thing of all. And yet that is your “job” as a SAHM! The worst stuff? I guess it would have to be bathroom and kitchen cleaning, in that order. Somewhat dirty jobs, but hardly deal breakers. And the really nasty stuff at home, the gutter cleaning and the like, still gets done by the man!

That’s why even merely comparing hours is misleading. Difficulty must be considered too. And, of course, and contra Scott, so must all three main categories of work.

On to the next paragraph….Again, it starts out promising. Of course, hysterical, neurotic standards of cleanliness are stupid. And no one should have to meet anyone else’s standards, if they are crazy. Buuuuuut, under current norms, it is both women and men who suffer from ridiculous standards, even though it is women who make a fetish of housework, not men. It is women who find fault when a man has done the basic work, but has not gone the absurd, Felix Unger like extra nine miles. “Well, when I do it, I do all that,” she says. Which may be true. But that is because (1) she has more time and energy to do it, having done less and less difficult wage work, and (2) she is the one with the cleanliness fetish. The days of a Ralph or even an Archie coming home from work and finding fault with the dusting or vacuuming are long since over (if they ever existed). Indeed, most husbands, even if they do all the wage work and their wives are SAH wives or mothers, are more than happy if there is a hot meal awaiting them, and clean clothes for the next day’s work. That, and a little sex once in a while, and most husbands have no complaints whatsoever!

Women’s compulsions to clean excessively are either self generated or come from their mothers and sisters or are areas of competition viz a viz other women. Men, to put it bluntly, really don’t give a shit. And thus it is wrong for women to expect men to cater to their non sense. Doing the housework, the NECESSARY housework, is actually no big deal. Men, living along, or living with other men, either do it themselves, no biggie, or hire a cleaner to come in for an hour or two a WEEK to take care of it. For less than a hundred dollars. I know of some who get it done for fifty dollars a week, and that includes laundry, all floors, the bathroom and the kitchen cleaned, the beds changed and made, and the whole place dusted, in a two man, two bedroom apartment! Again, the work is simply not that hard, and does not require any special skills. And yet I have had on line discussions with SAHMs claiming that they had to work from dawn to dusk, and all night too. Vacuuming multiple times a day (the whole house). Never getting a break. Etc, etc. Some of them even cite the absurd, annual Mother’s Day publicity stunt of “calculating” how much a SAHM is worth by comparing it to being a CEO for X amount of time, etc, etc, instead of the scientifically and economically and obviously more accurate method of considering replacement cost (current–2013–figure from over $113,000 per year for an “average” SAHM…LOL!).

But I digress…

Scott is correct here, when he says that doing a crazy level of housework is a “hobby.” The problem is that it is predominantly a woman’s hobby, not a man’s. And not only not a man’s in terms of what men like to do, but not a man’s in terms of what he thinks the designated housekeeper “ought” to do. Women are their own worst enemies, when it comes to excessive housework, and men’s worst enemies too, to the extent that their men do housework. So, yes it does hurt women, but that is their own damn fault. And it hurts men too, who are not at fault.

Rod and thee

Rod Dreher:

Writing and performing a Christmas carol about coming out of the closet, as Crystal Bowersox has done, is “vulgar,”

but writing a book about your dead sister, for your profit only, practically before she is cold in the ground, as Rod has done, is A OK.

Indeed in the past Rod has written that a gay man who writes (in a cake magazine!) about his problems with his mother is doing wrong for airing the family dirt. But, besides airing his own family dirt, Rod thought the Southern guy who made a You Tube video abusing his daughter, and then shooting (literally) her computer, because she said things about him on Facebook that he didn’t like was also just A OK

Takeaway: Right wing asshole Christian males, like Rod and his gun toting hero, can do or say anything viz a viz their family, and you better damn well believe that is just fine. Gays and lesbians? Not so much.

If Rod was just the typical right wing clown, I wouldn’t even bother. But this is a guy with pretensions, despite the limit of his education being a BA in journalism from LSU, a guy who claims to have opinions about theology, a “post Christian” future, “perennialism,” and so forth. And yet, in reality, he is as much of a gay hating moron as the rest of the bunch. Oh well….

UPDATE: Nice to see even the commenters whom Rod can tolerate (he threw me off the board for daring to point out his hypocritical obsession with Miley Cyrus) are hammering him on the “vulgar” thing. Songs like “Santa Baby” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” have long since broken the firewall between XMas and sexiness, “vulgarity,” and so on. They are pointing to materialism gone haywire, such as JC Penny ads with “Shop, shop, shop” being sung to “Jingle Bells,” and reminding Rod that the whole Santa, Frosty, reindeer, Rudolph, elves, etc, etc complex has long since taken precedence over Jesus and Mary and Joseph when it comes to Xmas in America. The whole creation of the American secular Xmas “Tradition” goes counter to what Rod now claims is the norm. If all of that is OK, and either not vulgar or not worth denouncing as vulgar, then why this? Um, can you say homophobia? Sure you can!

Also nice to see little Rod twist and turn, as his mostly reactionary commenters point out that he had to go well, well out of his way to find this song by a bisexual woman. That, despite his claims about merely objecting to having everything turned into a gay and lesbian hoo ha, the truth is this song is hardly being played at the mall in East Butthole, Louisiana, where Rod shops, nor performed by the chorus at the school which his kids would attend, if Mrs. Dreher wasn’t indoctrinating them with “home schooling,” and so on. That far from gays and lesbians overriding XMas with their coming out parties, the truth is that Rod simply hates gays and lesbians, and wants them to go back to the closet and stay there. And this song provided him with a nice, convenient holiday-time vehicle.

No time is ever “a swell time” for gays, not “jingle bell time” and no other time either. Rod NEVER wants to hear about them, EVER. He finds it either infuriating or amusing (depending on his mood, I guess), that the New York Times, a newspaper aimed primarily at a metro area with lots and lots of openly gay and lesbian folks, occasionally runs, ya’ know, actual articles and stuff by and about gay people! Why would it do that, and not cater to newly minted minority sect Greek Orthodox (Rod is on his third or fourth religion, depending on how you count…apparently, he thinks that the more religions you join and quit, the more religious you are, the more “receptive” to religious “experience” you are, and just generally more “sensitive” your are) dunderheads in Louisiana, like himself? It must be a vast lavender conspiracy!

But Rod doesn’t stop there. Oh no, far from it. He just knows the gays and lesbians are moving out of their coastal beachheads, and infiltrating God fearing middle America. Next stop? World Domination! And, to prove it, Rod digs and sniffs, like a dog looking for a buried bone, through media high and low, until, as here, he finds something (I can just see him, furiously googling “gay” and “Christmas” until this ditty popped up!) either about or by gays, or both. And then he howls at the moon! “Teh Gaysszzss!!!!111!!!!!!, teh Gayhsssszzst!!111!11, why don’t they ever leave me alone!!???///?!!!!Tey gayssasszzsss are coming to get me, and my holiday, and my little Rods!!!!11!!!111, Owwwwwwwwwwwoooooooooooooooh!!!!!11111!!!1111!1”


More BS from Rod:

“Hey, I’m a Christian, and I believe in selling the message of Christian conversion. But in the end, bending art around a message gets tiresome. When an artist releases a pop song celebrating coming out for the Fourth Of July — they’ll make it about independence and freedom — if anybody rolls his or her eyes, they’ll be condemned as a hater.”

Rod probably doesn’t know it, but Elton John and Bernie Taupin more or less wrote that song forty years ago! “Philadelphia Freedom” is about the Fourth of July (it was written one year before the Bicentennial), and it is about the political freedom and national independence common to all Americans which was proclaimed that day. But it is also about the tennis team the Philadelphia Freedom, of which Billie Jean King, to whom the song is dedicated, was the star. And, of course, the song, at the deepest and most important level, is also about the freedom to come out, which BJK and EJ helped pioneer. The lyrics are fairly explicit, saying that one can choose to live in the city, alone, free and “easy without family ties.” The connection between general, universal notions of freedom, and the freedom to come out, only occurs to Rod as something to mock. Never mind the greater historical truth that the freedom proclaimed in Philadelphia so long ago has led to deeper and more comprehensive and more widely shared freedom, such that it now includes women, racial minorities, atheists, and gays and lesbians.

The other point that Rod, in his inimitable way, has missed is that no one actually cares if you roll your eyes at
“Philadelphia Freedom,” the hypothetical song he posits, or the XMas carol written by Bowersox. What marks you as a hater is claiming, in a public way, that the impulse to write the song is tiresome and vulgar and so on. Any song, no matter how noble its subject matter, might suck. It might suck musically or lyrically or both. But if the subject matter of a song, and not how it is done, causes you to write a column against the song, well then, folks are probably not far off if they suspect you hate the subject matter. “It is tiresome and vulgar to write about X” pretty much does break down into “I don’t like X.” Roll your eyes to your heart’s content, but don’t come out in the agora and tell us you hate hearing about something, but, somehow, don’t hate the something you don’t want to hear about.

Comical to see Rod trying to pretend that this song was all in his face…”You’re kidding, right? I found it on my Facebook feed, and found lots of coverage of it on Google news. You don’t object to my paying attention to it. You object to the kind of attention I pay to it.” No Rod, they aren’t kidding! I’m no FB expert, but my understanding is that you get on your “feed” what you ask for. So, that’s that. Rod has his FB radar set for gay stuff, and then thinks it noteworthy that his radar, um, picks up gay stuff! And “Google news?” What the F is that? And being on it is now the sign of prominence? Not on TV news? Or in a newspaper? Or all over the internet? But on the must read “Google news?” I guess it would be too much to expect Rod to ignore something that has “lots of coverage” on the august, bullshit website of record “Google news!”

Nice comeback by poster Alex:

“NFR: Yes, obviously if one doesn’t want to talk about homosexuality at every possible opportunity, including Christmastime, one wants gays to be stuffed back into the closet. That couldn’t be more clear. — RD]”

“Who is forcing you to talk about homosexuality at every possible opportunity? This is one (1) song among the dozens and dozens that get released every single week. The reason people are accusing you of demanding complete silence from gays is that you seem to be upset that one (1) song among those dozens and dozens deals with gay themes, so upset that you’ve plucked it from relative obscurity (it has only 85,000 views – that’s 75% as many hits as the feminists-attacking-the-Argentine-cathedral video you posted earlier this week and 1.2% the number of hits as a video showing shoppers trampling each other at WalMart on Black Friday) and promoted it here. Is one obscure song really too many for you?”

Yeah, and even if the issue really was “talk[ing] about homosexuality,” I’m pretty sure, going out on a limb here, that most gays and lesbians would be quite happy if Mr. Rod Dreher never “talked” about it, or them, at all, again, ever, in any fora, including written ones.

UPDATE III: Rod thinks “Santa Baby” is a “parody!” Because he does not say what work it is a parody of, I have to assume that Rod simply does not know what the word “parody” means. Again, it is funny how a guy with such a limited education and so little intelligence generally tries to pass himself off as a serious social critic, student of the arts, religious thinker, and so on. What Rod really means, I guess, is that the song is a “satire,” which, I suppose, it is, at some level. Of course that does not insulate, much less immunize, it from the charge of being vulgar (because it mixes XMas with sexiness, materialism, etc). At least, it wouldn’t if it was being discussed by someone with an ounce of understanding and at least some ability to recognize nuance and ambiguity, but, with Rod doing the discussing, unfortunately, it isn’t.

UPDATE IV: Rod’s latest attempt to wiggle out of his homophobia, pursued in the comments and also on his follow up post about, you guessed it, polygamous analogies (!) to coming out of the gay closet for XMas, is a combo play. On the one hand, Rod has discovered that Bowersox’ career has not been going so well. So, of course, that “explains” why she would make such an in your face “gay” XMas song. The jump the sales chart through controversy angle. On the other hand, Rod has also discovered that Bowersox has expressed hope that the song will become a “gay anthem.” One might think, perhaps, that Rod, who claims he doesn’t want to hear and talk about all this gay stuff, would have taken these facts, if such they be, as reasons for NOT granting the song and its singer free publicity. After all, if she wants to jump start her career by being controversial, wouldn’t the best thing to do, for someone who doesn’t seem all that inclined to want to help her career, be to simply ignore her? Same with the “anthem” thing. OK, superficially, that backs up Rod’s case that this is not “just” a song, and so worth his time. On the other hand, and more to the point, once again, if you don’t want to talk and hear about tey gayz, then maybe when one of them produces a song purporting to be an “anthem” for them, you would just ignore it. You would do what you say you want to do, and, um, refrain from talking about it, and them, no? And, anyway, gays wanting an anthem, or a gay singer wanting her song to be a gay anthem, necessarily impacts Rod how? Wasn’t he perfectly free, despite that expressed hope, to ignore it? Couldn’t, when the song turned up so malevolently on his Facebook feed, Rod just have rolled his eyes in private and hoped it died on the vine? Why would he feel the need to comment on it, and give it more publicity, which is the oxygen of sales?

We know why, don’t we? Rod is obsessed with gays. With gays and lesbians and sexually liberated women (like Miley Cyrus) and with Black people (who he is now featuring in another all too predictable column about “knockouts” and DiBlasio and so on). Rod is, in reality, nothing more than your typical ignorant, Southern white male, redneck racist, sexist, homophobe, Republican, conservative Christian asshole. Sure, he likes his gourmet food and fancy wine and trips to France, but that hardly matters. After all, the old planter aristocracy liked those things too. Having champagne tastes doesn’t mean that you aren’t an ignorant bigot. In Rod’s case, it just means he is an ignorant bigot with champagne tastes.

Upstate, Downstate

Added this response to Bill Kauffman’s typically non persuasive, rural, upstate New York whine, at TAC. Kauffman is usually a hoot, and often writes enjoyably, even if somewhat insufferably, and rarely convincingly. This time, however, he seems off his game entirely.

My comment reads as follows:

All the counties of NY State, and all the residents therein, “count.” We happen to live in a democratic republic, though, and the majority rules, subject only to constitutionally enforceable individual rights.

Perhaps it is a matter of perspective, but down here in the City of New York it seems as if we have to go hat in hand to Albany to get approval from rural Republicans for the policies that we want for ourselves and don’t affect you one way or the other. Our new mayor elect wants to raise our city income tax for the highest earners, but we need approval from Albany for that. We wanted our city income tax to apply to folks who work but don’t live here, but Albany would not go along. (Those folks mostly live in the near by suburbs, not up your way.) Every year we have to engage in some sort of “bargaining,” we have to give up something politically, merely so that we can keep our city-wide only rent control and stabilization law that affects you folks not one whit. We feel as if we are unfairly beholden to you, not vice versa.

And we resent deeply the notion that you want to institute some kind of “little Federalism”/rotten borough reapportionment under which our votes count less than yours. All our lives, we have heard over and over again about the supposed superior virtue of folks who live in rural areas. Well, I don’t buy it a for a minute. You are no better than we are, and no one of you deserves any more of a say than any one of us does.

Next, did you ever consider that your rural economy simply does not generate much in the way of opportunity, and that is why your young folks leave to join the military or for the big cities? Farming is not nearly as labor intensive as it once was, and only one person can inherit an already relatively small family farm without making it completely non viable through division. Fewer and smaller farm families mean fewer jobs in the farm towns and support businesses. That’s not necessarily anyone’s “fault.”

And this really gets my goat, but it sounds like you are complaining that eighty per cent of your county budget is drawn up in Albany. Well, that’s probably because a great deal of the revenue used to finance government operations in your county comes from Albany. And that, in turn, means the money comes from downstate. The counties in and around New York pay way more in taxes to Albany than they receive back. Your county, and counties like it, do just the opposite.

“If indeed it is better to give than receive, New York City and its suburbs can count their blessings by the billions of dollars. City residents and businesses paid about $4.1 billion more to Albany in taxes and fees than the state returned in spending for education, health care, transit and other services in 2009-10. For the nearby suburban counties (Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester), it was $7.9 billion more in taxes than came back in spending…Where did the extra $12 billion go? North and west, up the Hudson River and along the Thruway corridor to Upstate regions that have struggled economically for much of the last half-century.”

You all generate 28 per cent of State revenue, but take 42 per cent of State spending. Downstate makes up the difference.

With your talk of secession, it sounds like you don’t like the deal you’ve got now. My feeling, given all of the above, as a City of New York resident, is that if some equitable way of dividing up the State’s resources and infrastructure (particularly the latter, as it has been built up by downstaters), and figuring out the resulting administrative mess, could be devised, then, please, go. Go and take your guns and your rural “virtue” with you! Go and don’t come back!

That’s the end of my comment.

I also wonder about gun shows being like rural swap meets. That may well be the case in out of the way rural areas, but it hardly seems to apply to the high tech, slick displays I have seen video of from elsewhere.

UPDATE: I guess Bill has not seen fit to publish my comment. Apparently, iconoclasm and free thinking are for him only!

Update II: Seems like he has, belatedly, added the comment. Why he had to wait so long, until the article is no longer prominent on the site, is beyond me. I did have a link, but then so did other comments which were approved sooner even though written later.

The Volokh Conspiracy

Apparently, I have been kicked off the Volokh Conspiracy, for the crime of being “ungenerous” (in the words of co blogger Orin Kerr) to super Likudnik David Bernstein’s hysterical, knee jerk, substanceless bloviation re the application of an academic boycott of Israel. Folks can check out the thread here,

if they are interested. Kind of amazing that self described “libertarians” would insist on “generosity,” as they are the first to claim “tyranny” if one penny more than can be justified under Ayn Rand’s crackpot theories is taken from them in taxes. Apparently, that does not apply to their own scribblings, which, no matter how stupid and unsupported, must be given more credit than they actually deserve. Funny too that libertarians would use a thread in which they attack academic boycotts as an excuse to insulate themselves from dissenting opinions, like mine!

Today, I attempted to comment in response to this blog post

but was informed that I no longer had “permission” to post there.

Anyway, here, more or less, is what I tried to post:

First of all, JPII did not bring “freedom” to the Poles primarily so that they could institute a free market economy. He did so, primarily, as a matter of restoring religious freedom. And, even at that, it is no coincidence that Poland is a Catholic country. By which I mean the religious freedom that was being restored was, for the most part, the freedom to be a Roman Catholic. And don’t think that that had nothing to do with JPII’s actions. Secondly, if one is looking for auxiliary reasons for JPII’s actions, I think that political freedom/nationalism provide a much better choice than economics. Poles want to govern Poland, and while they don’t perhaps much like police states, they positively hate foreign, especially Russian (or German), imposed police states.

Beyond what JPII was all about, it seems to me there is a lot of daylight between Soviet imposed Polish communism and the tepid, lukewarm social democracy, capitalism with a conscience type economic policy which the quoted material seems to be calling for. And it should also be pointed out that JPII is dead, and that the new pope is not bound to be as much of a capitalist rah rah boy as the guy two popes ago was. The Roman Catholic Church has been around a long time, and one pope, perhaps because of his and his country’s suffering under a foreign imposed police state, chose to stridently oppose not only the economic system of that police state, but anything remotely like it. Well, the new pope doesn’t have that background and is making his choices accordingly. And something tells me that the Church will be around long after the current economic upturn in Poland that you are crowing about is as forgotten as last year’s snow.